Japan art and Matsubayashi Keigetsu: Influence of China
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Japanese artist Matsubayashi Keigetsu (1876-1963) is famous for his Nanga (Chinese-influenced art) art in a comparatively decorative style. Hence, he delved deeply into the artistic and literati world of China and Japan throughout his life.
He was born in the prefecture of Yamaguchi. In 1894, Matsubayashi studied the intricacies of art under Noguchi Yūkoku (1825-1898).
Bonhams says, “Considered one of the foremost Nanga school artists of the 20th century, Keigetsu exhibited at both the Bunten and after the Pacific War at the Nitten. He was a member of the Art Committee of the Imperial Household, and was honored with the Order of Cultural Merit in 1959. His paintings are in the collections of the Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art and the Tokyo National Museum.”
One can only imagine how Matsubayashi felt about the period of history he belonged to. This concerns Japan invading China and crimes committed by Japanese nationalist forces. However, despite everything, many Japanese artists were still influenced by the rich artistic legacy of China – irrespective of politicians utilizing anti-China rhetoric.
Overall, he produced stunning art throughout his life. Accordingly, he was rewarded in the last few years of his life with the Japanese Order of Culture – and he also became the president of the esteemed Nihon Nanga-in.
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